Brigitte Bandit, a popular Austin drag queen made headlines after receiving a rhinestone jeweled guitar from country music legend Dolly Parton.
Bandit shared a video on her Instagram page of when she realized who signed the glittering instrument.
“I honestly can’t believe it’s even real,” Bandit said, smiling. “I keep staring at it being like it’s just going to disappear, and I’m going to wake up from this dream because it’s just — it’s just wild. It’s very exciting.”
"To Brigitte. Love, Dolly Parton," read the signed message on the guitar.
Dolly’s gift comes amid a strenuous time for the drag community as drag bans continue to plague the entertainment industry. However, Parton has been a longtime ally of the LGBTQ+ community.
In a 2016 New York Times interview, Parton said, “I have a huge gay following, and I’m proud of them. Sometimes some of them look more like me than I do.”
For Bandit, the gift is symbolic of Parton's support to the community during a hostile time for the queer community.
“It’s a public statement to send a guitar to a drag queen in Texas right now that’s fighting this kind of anti-drag and anti-trans bills, so I love Dolly for supporting the community and making sure that the people who are doing this feel heard,” she said.
“Everybody’s excited to see that people notice what we’re doing here.”
Bandit said she intends to perform with the guitar only once, in a January 19 performance marking Parton’s birthday. Afterward, she says she plans to place the guitar in a display case. Parton was the second-ever musical concert Bandit ever attended.
“Dolly has always been such a huge inspiration,” she told news station KXAN.
“I do call myself the Dolly of Austin. My very first paid booking was a Dolly show. Whenever I started to get a little bit more traction in the drag community, for some reason, Dolly and Brigitte just got together. I was booked for so many Dolly events that eventually I just ended up becoming the Dolly. Often if somebody wanted a Dolly, I was there.”
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